Bypass set to open

IT S just around the corner – after a wait stretching over seven decades, the Baldock bypass is almost completed. It will be officially opened on Thursday, March 16, by transport secretary Alistair Darling, six months ahead of schedule. And 10 lucky Come

IT'S just around the corner - after a wait stretching over seven decades, the Baldock bypass is almost completed.

It will be officially opened on Thursday, March 16, by transport secretary Alistair Darling, six months ahead of schedule.

And 10 lucky Comet readers have the chance to be among the first people to travel on the new road, courtesy of Herts County Council.

A bypass for the town was first proposed about 70 years ago but the outline route was not chosen until 1993.

A public inquiry was held two years later and in 2002 the Government granted permission to build the road. Construction started in 2004.

The centre of Baldock has long been a nightmare for drivers - more than 22,000 vehicles pass through a day but only nine per cent actually stop in the town.

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The aim of the 6.3km long bypass is to re-route as much of the through traffic on the A505 as possible away from the town centre.

It is predicted that once the bypass is open, traffic in the town will be cut by between 48 and 69 per cent.

More than 25,000 vehicles are expected to be using the bypass every day by 2020.

Winners of our competition will be asked to arrive at the bypass site office between 11am and 11.30am on the big day. It is signposted after junction 9 of the A1(M) heading towards Baldock.

They will then be taken to the tunnel where Alistair Darling will give a speech and officially open the bypass. The winners will then be transported along the bypass before being given lunch in a marquee on site.

All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning one of the 10 places up for grabs is answer this simple question: How long is the bypass?

Send your entry on a postcard to Bypass Competition, The Comet, Bank House, Primett Road, Stevenage, Herts SG1 3EE by next Thursday, March 9. Please include your name, address and daytime phone number.